Book Crap–Fretting and Whining

So, both the Professor and S. felt like things were maybe strangely paced. Which is like hearing… I don’t know… honestly, is there anything worse than hearing that there’s a pacing problem? It both feels like a word that tells you nothing and a word that is pretty exact in its description. It’s like someone saying “Your face is green.” You can’t deny something is wrong, you can’t really deny what is wrong, but do you see a doctor? Use some reddish tinged foundation? Get some flying monkeys and accept you’re forever going to be upstaged by a girl in gingham?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on pacing problems, but I felt like I needed some kind of broad overview that might show me some issues. And so I made this chart, up above, which is the number of pages in each chapter clumped together by section. And here’s some interesting information that’s hard to see from within the book. The first two chapters introduce my protagonist and my antagonist. They’re pretty equal in length, which makes sense.

Then I have some short chapters that cover Sue’s development. I have a really long chapter where my protagonist and antagonist meet and then it tapers off to where the 13 is (those bottom numbers don’t really correspond to chapter numbers, but it’s helpful to have them there for reference). So, I think that the whole first roughly third of my book is kind of shaped okay. We spend the most time on the most important moment.

But now look at this mess between 15 and 21. I suspect this may feel like a part that’s strangely paced because we spend a little time, then a lot, then a little, then a lot, then a lot, then the most. I suspect that part doesn’t feel like it either builds to anything OR that it is a release after a really important moment. The shape just says to me “strange pacing” and indicates a place I want to take a closer look at. And then look at 25-29. I have grave concerns about whether that chapter at 26 really is the most important chapter in the book, and yet, it’s the biggest chapter. And since we’re leading right up to the climactic confrontation between my protagonist and antagonist, what does it mean to have such a huge chapter so close to the end? Does it misplace the emphasis of the end of the book? I’ll be looking at that, too.

Honestly, revising is really difficult. I’m used to blogging, frankly, where I throw up some crap and, if it sucks, well, I’ll do better in the future or have done better in the past or something. But this kind of work needs real re-envisioning. And it’s not something I’m good at.

Two Weekends in a Row

Two weekends in a row we get food from the same spot on Saturday and two weekends in a row I spend my Sunday in a total waste of bathroom weirdness. Okay, I have learned my lesson, life! I see what you’re trying to tell me.

So, the room is not back together. No workable second short story is even drafted. The den is still full of crap. And Sue… Ugh. I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday and the Butcher was all “I can do this stuff, you just need to tell me.” Which, yes, is not my favorite thing to hear, but it did make me feel better. I will get him started on a short story immediately. Ha ha ha.

But anyway, so that’s two weekends in a row that have just been shot and not by fun “I’m screwing around!” nonsense, either. So, that’s a little frustrating.

I did have a talk with S. about the Sue Allen project and I am just feeling like I have written something I don’t have the talent to revise. But then, I’m also trying not to be too down about that, because I know it’s coupled with a weekend in which I couldn’t even do the dishes. If a hundred bricks need to be moved, you don’t ask yourself how you’re going to move them on a day when you can’t leave the couch, you know?

Because, even if the answer is “One brick at a time,” you can move no bricks.

Such is how I should read into my feelings on Sue. I couldn’t do anything this weekend. It remains to be seen if I can do anything. I’m just having a little crisis of confidence is all.